Healthy Recipes: Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
This is a vegetarian version of the classic soup, usually made with chicken. Earthy dark pasilla chile flavors the soul-satisfying broth. (Recipe adapted from Rick Bayless.)
- 3 large dried pasilla (negro), ancho or New Mexico chiles (see Note)
- 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 cups vegetable broth or “no-chicken” broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 large sprig epazote
- 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu
- 4 cups chopped chard, spinach or kale leaves
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 ripe large avocado, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 cups roughly broken tortilla chips
- 3/4 cup shredded Mexican melting cheese, such as Chihuahua or asadero, or Monterey Jack or mild Cheddar (optional)
- 1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges
- Holding the chiles one at a time with metal tongs, quickly toast them by turning them an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until the aroma fills the kitchen. (Alternatively, toast chiles in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing them flat for a few seconds then flipping them over and pressing again.)
- When cool enough to handle, stem and seed the chiles, break them into pieces and put them in a blender along with tomatoes and their juice. (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chiles.)
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 6 to 9 minutes. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon and transfer to the blender with the tomato mixture. Process until smooth.
- Return the pot to medium heat. When quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add broth, water and epazote (if using). Bring to a boil, then adjust heat to maintain a simmer.
- Drain tofu, rinse and pat dry; cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook in a single layer, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes total. Add the tofu to the soup and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add chard (or spinach or kale) to the soup and season with salt to taste, depending on the saltiness of the broth. Cook, stirring, until the greens are wilted, about 2 minutes, depending on the type of greens.
- Ladle the soup into 8 soup bowls. Divide avocado, tortilla chips and cheese (if using) among the bowls. Serve warm, with lime wedges.
Recipe Tips & Notes:
- Ingredient Notes: Pasilla chiles, sometimes called negro chiles, are medium-hot dried peppers with a flavor that defines tortilla soup in central Mexico. Find them and other dried chiles in the produce section of large supermarkets or online.
- Epazote, an herb used in Mexican cooking, has a pungent, distinctive flavor unlike any other herb. Look for it fresh at farmers’ markets or find it dried at Latin markets or online.
Per serving: 208 calories; 13 g fat (2 g sat, 5 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 7 g protein; 5 g fiber; 545 mg sodium; 400 mg potassium
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (44% daily value), Vitamin C (28% dv), Calcium (16% dv).
1 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 lean meat, 2 fat